16 Jul, 2018 - US envoy: WTO no place to settle trade dispute with China

US ambassador Dennis Shea told a World Trade Organisation meeting that China's unfair trade policies are too big for the WTO to handle.

Washington is threatening 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods. In response, Beijing accused the United States of bullying and said it would complain to the WTO, reported Reuters.

"Given China's very large and growing role in international trade, and the serious harm that China's state-led, mercantilist approach to trade and investment causes to China's trading partners, this reckoning can no longer be put off," said Mr Shea.

"It is clear, moreover, that the WTO currently does not offer all of the tools necessary to remedy this situation," Mr Shea told the two-yearly WTO review of China's trade policies.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has called for that the WTO's dispute system to be changed to prevent the United States from receiving what he regards as an "unfair deal".

To back up his demands, Mr Trump has blocked appointments to the WTO's appeals chamber to replace judges as their terms expire. Unless he relents, the world's trade dispute system will be unable to operate by the end of 2019 or sooner.

Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen defended China's record at the meeting and acknowledged the severe challenges facing the WTO, according to a Geneva trade official.

Speaking before Mr Shea, he called on all WTO members to stand up to bullying, protectionism and unilateralism, and urged them to tackle the systemic threats posed by Mr Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum and cars, as well as his tariffs directed solely at China.

Mr Shea said the Chinese state's role in the economy had increased. He said foreign firms doing business in China or competing with Chinese rivals faced deeper and broader obstacles, and added that Beijing was providing "massive, market-distorting subsidies" and "skewing the playing field... in a myriad of ways."

The WTO's dispute system focused narrowly on specific policies and could not deal with a broader situation where state-led policies prevailed over market forces. New WTO rules were unlikely to be negotiated to deal with the situation and would in any case take too long.

09 Jul, 2018 - HMM launches 11,000-TEUer - biggest ship with scrubber

HYUNDAI Merchant Marine (HMM), Korea's largest shipping firm, has launched the 11,000-TEU HMM Promise at a ceremony in Busan, the biggest ship with a SOx scrubber, reports Seoul's Pulse.

The scrubber system was retrofitted to the ship after it was delivered to HMM last August from Subic-based Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in the Philippines.

The move was made to comply with global environment protection standards that take effect on January 1, 2020.

"The HMM Promise is the world's first commercially operating ship of more than 11,000 TEU equipped with a large scrubber," said an HMM official.

The ship also represents the first large containership delivered to HMM after its ownership was shifted into the hands of state-run Korea Development Bank in August 2016.

HMM's containership capacity is now about 410,000 TEU, one-tenth of the world`s largest container shipping company, Maersk Line.

The HMM Promise will serve east coast South America, while the HMM Blessing, its twin from the same shipyard, will serve the west coast of South America, when it is launched this week.

03 Jul, 2018 - Cosco-OOCL deal gets green light from Chinese antitrust agency

COSCO Shipping Holdings announced that antitrust authorities in China have agreed to allow its acquisition of the parent company of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) to move forward, which will make the combined companies the world's third-largest container carrier.

Cosco's partner in the acquisition is a subsidiary of Shanghai International Port Group, which will take a 9.9 per cent stake in OOCL's parent, Orient Overseas International Ltd (OOIL).

In a brief announcement submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last Friday, Cosco said China's Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation had chosen not to prohibit its offer for OOIL. The decision by Chinese officials came one day before the June 30 deadline set forth in the original announcement of the proposed acquisition.

Previously the companies said they had received approval from European and US competition authorities, and it was unclear why Chinese officials had waited till the 11th hour to make their ruling.

Their approval was one of the preconditions the companies said had to be met before the deal could move forward when it was announced nearly a year ago on July 7, 2017. When announced, the deal was valued at about HKD49.2 billion (US $6.3 billion).

Friday's announcement said a "composite document" giving the full terms and details of the offer will be issued within seven days.

The announcement was silent on the future of OOIL's Long Beach Container Terminal, one of the most automated container terminals in the United States. The acquisition of the terminal is reportedly being reviewed by the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

A report in the Wall Street Journal had earlier said Cosco has offered to put the terminal into a "US-run trust to allay US national security concerns about Chinese ownership of the facility."

30 Jun, 2018 - South Korean shipbuilders face challenge to meet annual order targets

SOUTH Korea's three major shipbuilders are facing an uphill battle to reach their new order targets for this year, according to Seoul's BusinessKorea.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), together with its two sister companies, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, have received US$5.6 billion worth of new orders so far this year, about 38 per cent of its target for 2018, which is set at $14.8 billion.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) posted $3.2 billion in new order receipts as of June 26, attaining 44 per cent of its annual target of $7.3 billion. Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has won new orders totalling $2.3 billion thus far, which amounted to 28 per cent of its annual order target.

HHI has booked orders for 33 oil tankers, 19 container ships, 15 gas tankers and two others so far. The company has not won any order for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier, which is the most expensive type of vessel.

SHI has received orders for five LNG tankers, eight containerships and 11 oil tankers. DSME has landed orders for 26 ships, ten of which are LNG tankers. In terms of order quality, DSME stands out among the three.

DSME also leads its two rivals in terms of the ratio of the orders received to the annual goal. The gaps between DSME and the remaining two companies will widen further when Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) sign contracts with the three for vessels ordered earlier this month. HMM has agreed to place an order for seven 23,000-TEU vessels with DSME and five 23,000-TEU vessels with Samsung Heavy Industries. HHI will be awarded an order for eight 14,000-TEU vessels.

The three Korean shipbuilders are keen to win offshore plant orders in the second half of this year. Currently, they are competing to land an order for the Chevron Rose Bank, which is expected to be placed this year. The three Korean shipbuilders and a Singapore company are in competition and the bidding process has been completed and the four companies are waiting for the client's decision.

25 Jun, 2018 - Hong Kong fears US-China trade war will hurt trade volumes

SECRETARY for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau says Hong Kong is worried about the worsening trade row between China and the US given that 17 per cent, or HKD60 billion (US$7.6 billion) worth of Chinese exports in question passed through the city to the US, and nine per cent, or HKD6 billion, of US exports were transshipped via the city to mainland China.

"We are worried about the worsening Sino-US trade dispute and it is a pity to see that the goodwill the two countries built over the years is being lost," Mr Yau told the SCMP in a phone interview from Paris, France while on a business tour with Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

"We fear that the trade war will become an irreversible step as each side only cares about its own interests," he said.

Hong Kong also faced an "unquantifiable impact from the spillover" of the dispute between the US and Europe, which could lead to trade being diverted from Hong Kong, he said.

Beijing and Washington are ensnared in a tit-for-tat trade row, with China on June 19 vowing to use quantitative and qualitative measures to retaliate if US President Donald Trump's threat to impose a 10 per cent punitive tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products went into effect.

Following Mr Trump's announcement on June 15 to impose 25 per cent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, Beijing responded by publishing a list of US products - ranging from soybeans to cars - that it would subject to retaliatory measures of the "same scale and intensity." Beijing calculated that the value of US product imports last year was $154 billion.

"Hong Kong can withstand the tariff tsunami if it continues to develop its regional relationships and Greater Bay Area and advancing on IT development," said American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong president Tara Joseph, referring to Beijing's plan to develop Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong into a new economic zone and IT-led powerhouse rivalling Silicon Valley in the US.

According to the Hong Kong government's trade figures, Asean became the city's second largest trade partner after mainland China last year in total trade. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an economic bloc comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Federation of Hong Kong Industries chairman Jimmy Kwok said Hong Kong companies in the re-export and transshipment business would be hit hardest.

"The trade war has spread to food such as meat and fish, which to some extent will put them in trouble," Mr Kwok said.

19 Jun, 2018 - Asia-Oz joint service boosts Evergreen offering

TAIWAN's Evergreen is expanding its container transport choices for customers between Asia and Australia by teaming up with Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and APL to provide a new weekly Central & South China-Australia Express (CAE) service.

Five classic panamax ships with capacities averaging 4,600 TEU will be deployed on the new service, two will be operated by Evergreen Line and the remaining three by HMM and APL.

The first sailing is scheduled around mid-August, with regular port calls at Ningbo, Shanghai, Shenzhen-Yantian, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

CAE will augment the line's two weekly services (NEAX and CAT) that call at ports in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Australia.

The expansion in service offerings is in response to the increasing trade demand on the route. Australia's economy is reported to have entered stable growth.

The rising population, mainly from robust immigration, has not only promoted the expansion of the consumer and housing markets, but also the development of public infrastructure - all stimulating cargo demand on this trade.

In addition to strengthening the current Asia-Australia network coverage, the expanded capacity also provides shippers with more reliable service. Evergreen Line has long cultivated the Australian shipping market, establishing Evergreen Shipping Agency (Australia) Pty Ltd in 2002.

From its base of three offices located at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, the line will continue to assist shippers to enhance their market competitiveness in the region.

11 Jun, 2018 - British cabinet supports plans for 3rd runway at Heathrow

THE UK government has supported plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport. The UK Cabinet's economic sub-committee approved the plans before the proposals were backed by the full cabinet.

The UK Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: "A successful, thriving aviation sector is critical to our ability as a nation to succeed, which is why we are developing a strategy to help it grow in a sustainable way."

Members of parliament (MPs) of all parties will be asked to vote on the plans in the coming weeks, reported London's Air Cargo News.

The news was cautiously welcomed by freight forwarders, with British International Freight Association (BIFA) director general Robert Keen expressing hope that the "news is the beginning of the end of years of procrastination over the expansion of UK aviation capacity.

"If that is the case, it is long overdue good news for our 1,500 member companies who have been dismayed over the ongoing delay on such a huge issue.

"However, we understand that MPs will now be asked to vote on the issue in the coming weeks and, given the track record of parliament on this issue over the last 20 years, uncertainties remain.

"Whilst the UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has previously hinted at an expedited planning procedure, with no reopening of high level arguments, the inevitable legal challenges and the convoluted planning processes that are also likely, lead me to wonder whether any expansion will be completed by the time that UK aviation capacity is predicted to run out in 2025.

"I hope I am proved wrong, but I won't be booking a ticket for the opening ceremony just yet."

Heathrow chief executive John Holland Kaye said: "Together with our supporters across the country, we urge all MPs to vote for expansion.

"Their votes will connect all of Britain to global trade, increase competition and choice for passengers and create tens of thousands of new skilled jobs for future generations. The world is waiting for Britain. It's time to vote for Heathrow expansion."

The UK's Freight Transport Association also called on parliament to vote in favour of the plan.

"British exporters and importers rely on the global network of passenger flights at Heathrow which carry British goods in their holds, to provide access to markets outside Europe," said FTA's deputy chief executive James Hookham.

"If Britain is to diversify its economy away from European trade after Brexit, business will need increased capacity at the country's main cargo hub - Heathrow - and the timing of the announcement will strengthen the nation's attractiveness to potential trading partners.

"MPs now need to ensure that the decision can be ratified in the next 21 days for the good of British business.

"Currently, air freight represents around 40 per cent by value of the UK's imports and exports and its importance can only increase as the UK looks to replace European trading opportunities with economies further afield after Brexit."

04 Jun, 2018 - China customs require extra data for advanced cargo filings from June 1

CHINA's General Administration of Customs (GACC) has revised the information to be collected to perform advance cargo filings for imports and exports from June 1 by seeking additional data for inbound and outbound air and sea freight.

US logistics operator Expeditors explained in a notice to customers that the new GACC requirements aim to "enhance the control over inbound/outbound vessels, aircrafts and the goods thereon by means of data declaration."

The additional data required includes: the consignor's contact number, name, enterprise registration code or unified social credit code; consignee contact number, name, enterprise registration code or unified social credit code; notifier contact number, name, registration code or unified social credit code; and a complete and accurate description of the goods.

Manifest data must be transmitted to the GACC prior to arrival or departure within the timeframes prescribed for the mode of transportation, reported London's Air Cargo News.

In a previous customer alert, Air Canada advised that from June 1 it will be mandatory to include the shipper code and contact identifier on the master airway bill (AWB) and house AWB for all shipments destined to or transiting through China.

"The shipper code corresponds to a number that varies per country (in Canada for example, it is the corporation number). The shipper code must be indicated on the source document (on the OCI line of the AWB). Air Canada Cargo cannot verify the validity and authenticity of shipper codes. Please ensure all data is true and correct to avoid delays or penalties," the airline said.

28 May, 2018 - Ukraine International signs ECS as GSSA as it flies to India

UKRAINE International Airlines (UIA) has contracted ECS Globe Air Cargo India as its general sales and service agent (GSSA) as it makes it first moves in the Indian cargo market.

ECS Globe Air Cargo India expects to handle 2,000 tonnes of cargo per year for the airline, mainly in pharmaceuticals, leather goods, chemicals and machinery, reported New York's Air Cargo World.

UIA has been working with ECS's Indian branch since May 1, when the airline launched three direct flights per week between Kiev Boryspil Airport (KBP) and Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) on its 767-300 aircraft. A fourth frequency will be added in June.

"The flights from Delhi are scheduled so as to provide nonstop service and convenient connections with the UIA flights to the cities of Ukraine and Europe at Kiev Boryspil International Airport," said UIA cargo chief Peter Kukharchuk.

21 May, 2018 - Hyundai and PSA buy remaining Busan terminal from PE firm

HYUNDAI Merchant Marine (HMM) and Singapore's PSA International have secured complete ownership of a Port of Busan terminal, reports London's Port Technology International.

Both Korean shipping giant HMM and global port operator PSA will each hold a 50 per cent in the terminal after purchasing the remaining shares from a Korean venture capital firm IMM Investment in a deal on May 15.

Due to the new ownership, the terminal has changed its name from Hyundai Pusan New-Port Terminal to Korea Shipping Partnership Pusan Newport Terminal.

HMM fronted a majority of the final investment with PSA to take joint ownership, securing 40 per cent of the remaining shares in order to lower its cargo handling costs.

PSA took 10 per cent of IMM Investment's stake. HMM's stake decreased to 10 per cent in 2016 after it sold shares due to mounting debts.

14 May, 2018 - Lufthansa Cargo to receive 2 new Boeing 777 freighters in 2019

DEUTSCHE Lufthansa has ordered two Boeing 777 freighters for Lufthansa Cargo. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery in February and March 2019.

The carrier currently has a cargo fleet of five B777Fs and 12 MD-11Fs, reported London's Air Cargo News.

"The Boeing 777F is not only the world's most powerful, efficient and environmentally friendly freighter, it is also a visible sign of our modernisation strategy," said Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Peter Gerber.

With a full payload of 103 tonnes, the B777F is able to stay in the air for 10.5 hours. It covers a distance of 9,000 kilometres non-stop.

Lufthansa Cargo added: "Further projects to drive forward the modernisation of the airline are already being implemented. For example, the infrastructure at the hub in Frankfurt is being modernised substantially, and a new CoolCenter is under investment at the hub in Munich. The freight crane is also advancing the digitisation of the entire process chain.

07 May, 2018 - Capital Product Partners wins new charters with higher daily rates

GREEK owner Capital Product Partners (CPP) has won new time charter contracts for two boxships and sealed an extension for one of its tankers.

Swiss shipping liner MSC has taken 2006-built 8,266 TEU containership Archimidis on charter for two years at US$18,000 per day. The charter starts at the end of May after the vessel comes off charter to Singapore's PIL who were paying just $8,250 per day.

However, PIL has extended the charter of 2007-built 8,266 TEU containership Agamemnon for an additional eleven to thirteen months at a daily rate of $20,000. The extension commences during May, and at a rate significantly higher than the $8,250 PIL was previously paying for the vessel, reports Singapore's Splash 247.

The company has also chartered the 2015-built chemical/product tanker Active to Stena Bulk for a minimum of two to a maximum of twelve months at a rate ranging between $15,000 and $16,000 per day. The charter will commence late May 2018 after the vessel comes off a short-term charter to Louis Dreyfus Company Suisse, who were paying $13,000 per day for the vessel.

CPP last week posted its first quarter results, with revenues of $53.9 million resulting in a net income of $5.3 million.

02 May, 2018 - China, Russia, Saudi give EU trade reforms hard time at WTO

THE European Union's new rules against countries dumping cheap goods on its market got a rough ride at a World Trade Organisation meeting with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia disapproving.

The EU, which is in a major dispute with China about the fairness of Chinese pricing, introduced rules last December that allow it to take into account "significant distortions" in prices caused by government intervention.

A Chinese trade official told the WTO's anti-dumping committee that Beijing had deep concerns about the new methodology, saying it would damage the WTO's anti-dumping system and increase uncertainty for exporters, an official who attended the meeting said.

China argued that the concept of "significant distortion" did not exist under WTO rules, and the EU should base its dumping investigations on domestic prices in countries of origin, such as China.

The EU reformed its rules in the hope they would allow it to keep shielding its markets from cheap Chinese imports while fending off a Chinese legal challenge at the WTO.

China says that when it joined the WTO in 2001, the other member countries agreed that after 15 years they would treat it as a market economy, taking its prices at face value.

But the United States and the EU have refused, saying China still subsidises some industries, such as steel and aluminum, which have massive overcapacity and spew vast supplies onto the world market, making it impossible for others to compete.

China is suing both the United States and the EU at the WTO to try to force them to change their rules.

23 Apr, 2018 - HIT collaborates with vocational school to nurture young talent

HONGKONG International Terminals Limited (HIT) says it is honoured to be the founding industrial partner of Vocational Training Council's (VTC) Industry Partner Collaboration Scheme for their STEM Education Centre.

HIT and VTC will jointly develop a Virtual Reality (VR) programme specially designed for container terminal, said the company statement.

This can provide an overview of the port operations and arouse the learning interest of our younger generations in this industry.

19 Apr, 2018 - Russian-led bank: China-EU intermodal to grow 71.7pc within 2 years

CONTAINER rail traffic between China and Europe will grow 71.7 per cent to 225,000 FEU from 2017 to 2020, having already grown from 7,000 FEU in 2010 to 131,000 today.

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) study "Silk Road Transport Corridors Report of April 12 says container traffic spanning the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) may even double.

The EDB is a regional development bank established by the Russia and Kazakhstan in 2006. The Bank currently has six member states, including Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

There has already been a sharp increase in intermodal traffic between China and the EU, transiting via EEU countries, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, said the bank report.

Eighty per cent of deliveries are still made by sea. The growth of transit container traffic through the EEU depends on the development of trade between China and the EU, reports London's bne Intelinews.

The EDB report said EEU countries will need to expand their transport infrastructure and remove a number of barriers if growth of overland container traffic is to continue.

The expansion would be dependent on freight rates, which currently average at US$5,500 per FEU.

"Subsidy-driven reduction of China-Europe railway container freight rates by 30-50 per cent, has resulted in a 19-fold increase of container traffic," the report said.

Current rates encourage further growth of container traffic to 500,000 FEU in 2030, according to the report.

Growth rates are expected to decline after 2030 if not supported by lower rates as well as "investments in the "debottlenecking of the transport and logistics infrastructure" and "and international coordination of transport policies at the level of Greater Eurasia".

The EDB's most optimistic scenario sees aggregate container traffic along the route growing to 1.3 million TEU "in the long term".

Projections are in line with China's Belt and Road initiative, which seeks to turn much of the EEU into a transit hub for Chinese goods exported to Europe, said the bank study.

The EEU came into being in 2015 on the basis of a customs union created in 2010 and originally included Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus among its members - Armenia became a member of the free-trade bloc in January 2015, while Kyrgyzstan joined in August 2015.

09 Apr, 2018 - Surging fuel prices eat into ocean liners' profits, while spot rates drop

SOARING fuel costs are hitting container shipping lines hard at a time when spot rates from Asia to Europe and from Asia to the US west coast are 30 per cent lower than 12 months ago, yet fuel costs have jumped by one-fifth.

Most carriers claim it is "too early to say" at what level rates will settle but concerns are mounting within ocean liners' management teams that the cumulative US$7 billion industry profit in 2017 could have been a one-off, reported UK's The Loadstar.

Speaking during Hapag Lloyd's 2017 results presentation, chief executive Rolf Habben-Jansen said new contracts on the route had been agreed at a level "on average somewhat better than a year ago," although it was not clear whether this took into account the higher cost of bunker fuel.

However, spot business makes up half of the total liftings on the trade and carriers cannot support any further rate declines.

On the other hand, there was better news for transpacific carriers, with the SCFI reacting positively to April 1 general rate increases, rising 19.3 per cent to the US west coast to $1,127 per 40 foot container (FEU), and gaining 11.1 per cent to US east coast ports to $2,148 per FEU.

The positive shift in the US trades last week was good news for carriers trying to negotiate improved contract rates from May 1, however, spot rates are still 31 per cent below 2017 levels for the west coast and 19 per cent lower for the US east coast.

04 Apr, 2018 - Cosco, PIL offer 2 new Asia-west coast loop, ONE now with Hapag, MSC

THE US Federal Maritime Commission has announced that Cosco Shipping Co and Pacific International Lines (PIL) have added two Asia to west coast North America services to their existing slot exchange agreements.

Furthermore, Hapag-Lloyd, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Ocean Network Express (ONE) have amended their vessel sharing agreement to cover the transition period while ONE shipping lines, "K" Line, MOL and NYK, combine their container shipping operations, starting from April 1.

Accordingly, ONE has been added to the vessel sharing arrangement and Companhia Libra de Navegacao has been removed as a party to the agreement. The parties have requested expedited review from US authorities, reported American Shipper.

26 Mar, 2018 - ONE, Yang Ming, OOCL to start extended intra-Asia loop April 11

TAIWAN's Yang Ming, Hong Kong's OOCL and ONE, the Japanese start-up will launch an intra-Asia service connecting South China and Japan with Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The JMV (Japan-Malaysia-Vietnam) service starts April 11 with the northbound sailing of the 2,811-TEU YM Elixir from Shenzhen-Shekou bound for Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Yokohama, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Kelang, Singapore, Cai Mep, Shenzhen-Shekou, Hong Kong and back to Osaka.

The carrier group will launch a new service connecting South China and Japan with Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam starting in April, according to Yang Ming's online service schedules.

The JMV will operate with four vessels, one each from Yang Ming and OOCL and two from MOL, by that time part of the new Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE), the merger of the Japanese Big 3 container operations - NYK, MOL and "K" Line.

According to ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting, the containerships will have an average capacity of 4,754 TEU.

19 Mar, 2018 - Another Maersk boxship fire after recent deadly Maersk Honam blaze

LESS than two weeks after the fatal fire onboard the Maersk Honam in the Arabian sea, a fire broke out on another containership from the Danish shipping line, the Maersk Kengsington, heading towards Suez from Oman. It has since been contained.

The 6,188 TEU vessel reported a fire in a container in the cargo hold while enroute from Salalah, Oman to Suez last Thursday. The fire was contained using all the vessels CO2 systems and all 26 crew onboard are reported to be safe and accounted for. The vessel is currently anchored outside the port of Salalah, reports Seatime Maritime News of Colchester.

Maersk Line said the cause of the fire is unknown. "However, initial investigation indicate there is no link between the cargo in the cargo hold where the fire began on Maersk Kensington and the cargo in the cargo hold which caught fire on Maersk Honam on March 6, 2018," it said.

The 2007-built, Maersk Kensington is part of the US-flagged Maersk Line Limited (MLL) fleet. The vessel had 3,518 containers onboard corresponding to 5,616 TEU.

The container fire comes less than two weeks after a serious fire erupted on the 15,252 TEU Maersk Honam, leaving four dead, and another missing and believed dead. The vessel's crew evacuated the Maersk Honam after they were unable to bring the blaze under control.

The fire onboard the Maersk Honam has again raised concerns over the fire safety on container vessels and the misdeclaration of dangerous cargoes, although the cause of the fire remains unknown.

12 Mar, 2018 - Five-man Brazilian gang steals US$5m in cash due to fly on Lufthansa freighter

POLICE in Sao Paulo, Brazil are investigating the theft of an estimated US$5 million in cash which was due to fly from the city's Viracopos International Airport to Frankfurt aboard a Lufthansa freighter aircraft.

Local media reports said "the spectacular heist, which took place late Sunday, was completed in a matter of minutes, and authorities have yet to arrest a suspect".

It was reported that the gang entered the airport freight terminal using a pick-up truck on which they had "placed stickers mimicking the runway security company's logo," federal police were quoted as saying in a statement, according to London's Air Cargo News.

One of the newspapers reported that the gang had threatened security agents on the runway before taking off with the cargo, in barely six minutes.

A spokesperson for the German carrier's airfreight division in Frankfurt said: "Lufthansa Cargo confirms that there was an armed robbery at Viracopos Airport (VCP) in Brazil.

"The incident took place within the airport perimeter near the Lufthansa Cargo Freighter D-ALCF with flight number LH8263/04, with the destination Frankfurt (FRA) and a stopover in Dakar (DSS).

"The perpetrators robbed banknotes destined for the flight to Frankfurt. No people were injured. The plane started with a delay of about two hours to Dakar (DSS). Further details cannot be published at this time, as it is an ongoing investigation."

05 Mar, 2018 - Pakistani seafood wins favour in China since opening of overland route

SEAFOOD from Pakistan is gaining in popularity in China, not only because of low prices, but also because of support from government policies, reports Lahore's UrduPoint.

A report from the UK-based undercurrentnews.com said that China had overtaken the EU and Japan as the largest seafood export market for Pakistan.

"Currently, domestic demand exceeds supply in terms of Pakistani seafood imports," Chen Hai'ou, president of Kashgar Mufeng and Hezhengyuan Biotechnology Co, told Beijing's Global Times.

Several seafood distributors said that Pakistani seafood, compared with seafood imported from other sources, is more cost-effective.

In recent years, the Chinese government has rolled out measures that have encouraged and facilitated imports of seafood from Pakistan and India.

One example is the establishment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of a Belt and one Road initiative, which has enriched the transportation channels for Pakistani seafood entering China.

According to Mr Chen, in the past, Pakistani seafood could enter China only via sea or air transport.

But, after the corridor was set up, his company started importing Pakistani seafood by land transportation via Pakistan's Gwadar Port as well as via Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

"Pakistani seafood needs to travel only for three days via land transportation to China, compared with 40 days by the sea, so the cash conversion cycle can be much shorter," Mr Chen said, adding that the seafood will be sold in northwestern and southwestern regions in China.

Mr Chen also said that with the large demand for seafood in those regions, as well as the lower transport costs, more companies will engage in seafood trade with Pakistan.

"The business has a promising future," he said.

26 Feb, 2018 - Shanghai Pudong to top Hong Kong as busiest passenger airport

SHANGHAI Pudong Airport's passenger traffic is set to top that of Hong Kong International Airport this year or next, according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

In the past Hong Kong's main contenders have been airports in Shenzhen and Guangzhou amid rising activity and growth in the Pearl River Delta.

The financial capital of Shanghai is now expected to record similar passenger traffic to Hong Kong, a milestone still beyond the reach of Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

A decade ago, Hong Kong International was 65 per cent larger than Shanghai Pudong. In 2017, Pudong narrowed the gap and Hong Kong International was only four per cent busier.

Long-term positioning is less clear as Hong Kong prepares for growth at a single airport, whereas Shanghai may shift growth to a number of new commercial airports.

20 Feb, 2018 - Los Angles moves 808,728 TEU last month - 2nd busiest Jan in port's history

THE Port of Los Angeles handled 808,728 TEU last month, the second-busiest January in the port's history behind last January's record of 826,640 TEU.

While a slight decrease compared to January 2017's record, it's significantly higher than the port's most recent 5-year January average of 683,003 TEU.

"After two consecutive years of record-breaking cargo, it's encouraging to start 2018 with robust volumes," said Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka.

"It's only the seventh time we have eclipsed the 800,000 TEU mark in a single month, and we're grateful to our supply chain partners for their continued confidence in our world-class infrastructure, innovative technology solutions and extraordinary customer service."

Strong January volumes are due in part to retail stores replenishing inventories after the holidays, and cargo ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year, when goods from Asia slow down considerably.

January 2018 imports increased 1.8 per cent to 422,831 TEU compared to the previous year. Exports decreased 7.6 per cent to 150,035 TEU while empty containers decreased 5.2 per cent to 235,861 TEU. Combined, January overall volumes were 808,728 TEU, a 2.2 per cent decrease compared to last year, MarineLink reported.

12 Feb, 2018 - HMM, AAL jointly launch multi-purpose Asia-Middle East service

SINGAPORE-based global ocean transport company AAL Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) have teamed up to launch a multi-purpose service between Asia and the Middle East.

The joint Far East-Middle East service will operate on a bi-monthly rotation, deploying five multi-purpose vessels. The service connects China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore to the Middle East via the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, American Shipper reported.

"By pooling our resources with HMM, we can each offer more comprehensive service portfolios with improved frequency, capacity, coverage and economies of scale for our customers," AAL chartering and operations director Namir Khanbabi said.

"There will be no collaboration on pricing and we will each pursue bookings under our own respective brands, with separate commercial teams and bills of lading."

Mr Khanbabi added that the goal is to expand the service capacity to six vessels by 2019.

05 Feb, 2018 - Swissport receives US$406.69 million Barclays loan to buy Aerocare

GROUND handler Swissport has secured a EUR325 million (US$406.69 million) financing commitment from Barclays to help the company acquire Aerocare, the largest handler in Australia and New Zealand. The deal is expected to close by March 7.

Swissport has also received a EUR52 million partial loan repayment from its parent, China's HNA Group, reported London's Air Cargo News.

A statement from the handler said: "The intention is for Swissport to partially refinance an affiliate loan to a subsidiary of the HNA Group with a maturity of May 7, 2018 in an amount no greater than the balance of the current affiliate loan, which is maturing on February 6."

Commenting on its funding from Barclays, Swissport explained that it had secured incremental term-loan B acquisition financing commitment from Barclays as the exclusive and sole underwriter and arranger in the amount of EUR325 million, to be "drawn on or shortly before completion of the acquisition."

Swissport last week announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter and listing of its shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

It added: "The IPO will position Swissport for future growth with a diversified public shareholder base and significantly reduced leverage. The company is currently finalising the appointment of the global coordinators for the IPO."

29 Jan, 2018 - Le Havre's HAROPA forges cooperation link with Strasbourg port

THE French ports of Strasbourg (PAS) and Le Havre (HAROPA) have signed a cooperation agreement in rail, river and sea transport as well innovation and promotional activities.

Within the rail sector, PAS and HAROPA aim to create a scheduled and high-performance rail services to aid in diversifying regional seaports and facilitate cargo export by Rhine companies.

The port will seek to reduce congestion from mega containerships, which HAROPA has agreed to alleviate via rail services towards the east.

The two ports pledged to focus on the challenges to further connections to inland waterways, develop new rail services, deploying digital innovation to optimise cargo flows.

The two entities will also connect via HAROPA's EIG (Economic Interest Group), which has encompassed the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris since 2012.

PAS is also developing a new container terminal in Lauterbourg, slated for opening in the summer of 2018.

"Together, we have to play a major part within the trans-European transport network by working on the development of the hinterlands, digitisation and visibility," said HAROPA executive Herve Martel.

"With this partnership we are building a bridge between the Seine corridor and the Rhine valley," said Mr Martel.

Said EIG deputy director Antoine Berbain: "The partnership with Strasbourg will allow for connecting two port systems at the leading edge of innovation, whether it is as regards port governance, environmental policy or logistics."

22 Jan, 2018 - Newcomer SM Line to launch new China-USWC service in May

SOUTH Korea's SM Line plans to launch its second Asia-US west coast service in early May. The announcement comes just days after the fast expanding shipping line's request to collaborate with Hyundai Merchant Marine was turned down.

The new weekly Pacific Northwest service will connect China to Vancouver and Seattle.

"This new service will further enhance our trans-Pacific service coverage and will underline SM Line's commitment to widen our North America presence," the carrier said in a statement.

Operated by six 4,000 TEU vessels, the service will start from the Shenzhen port of Yantian in the first week of May. The port rotation will be: Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, Vancouver, Seattle, Tokyo, Pusan, Gwangyang, returning to Yantian.

The fledgling shipping line has made significant inroads on the trans-Pacific trades since it began operations in March 2017, reported IHS Media.

Since the carrier's launch it has transported 187,910 TEU and captured 1.6 per cent of the 11.9 million TEU imported through US west coast ports in 2017, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com within IHS Markit.

However, SM Line's growing presence on the trans-Pacific trades was not enough to secure cooperation from HMM, which said earlier this month that it had received SM Line's formal proposal for unconditional co-operation.

HMM is instead believed to be making plans to cooperate with Israel's ZIM Line on US east coast services. HMM currently sends ships of 5,000 TEU from Asia to the US east coast every week.

SM Line has grown its operations so quickly that it will soon offer 10 weekly services: six in the intra-Asia trade, two in the Asia-India trade and two in the Asia-west coast North America trade.

More services will follow as SM Line aims to expand its current 50,000 TEU operated capacity at least four-fold, with new services lined up for the "near future" that will connect Asia to the US east coast, west coast South America, Australia, the Middle East and Red Sea.

15 Jan, 2018 - Dog food and semiconductors compete for tight air cargo space

THE rising expectations of customers for rapid delivery have resulted in companies scrambling for cargo space leading to soaring airfreight rates.

Companies are shipping more items by plane to meet customers' rising expectations for rapid delivery, prompting a scramble for cargo space that has sent airfreight rates soaring and pushed Amazon.com Inc and others into the airline business.

Global airfreight traffic climbed almost 9 per cent year over year in November, the start of the peak shipping season, and rates for airfreight were up 17 per cent annually for the month, the biggest price increase since the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to cargo data provider WorldACD, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The cause is twofold: As online shoppers come to expect faster home delivery of everything from smartphones to paper towels, passenger jets and dedicated cargo planes are picking up more kinds of cargo traditionally carried by container ships, trains and trucks. At the same time, strong global economic growth also is spurring demand for goods long ferried by air, such as automotive and manufacturing parts.

To meet the rising demand, Amazon is starting its own airline and some air-cargo operators are searching for older, idle jets to convert into freighters.

"You're literally begging and pleading to get on airplanes, leveraging any contact you can," said Neel Jones Shah, global head of airfreight for Flexport Inc, a San Francisco-based firm that helps customers arrange freight shipments online.

However, some analysts caution the pace of growth may slow in 2018, when year-over-year comparisons will be tougher given the market improvements over the past year. Still, growth "will be probably in the 4 per cent to 5 per cent range, because the outlook for industrial activity and trade in 2018 is pretty strong," said Tom Crabtree, regional director of airline market analysis for Boeing Co's commercial airplanes unit.

Demand for new smartphones from Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co last year pushed up airfreight costs. Elevated semiconductor shipments, an airfreight mainstay, also have been gobbling up cargo space. And increasingly, manufacturers are loading toys, clothing and other products onto planes to meet shorter delivery windows and leaner retail inventories.

Air-cargo executives expect the crush to increase their industry's share of global shipments beyond its current level of about 2 per cent. Already, air cargo represents about one-third of global goods shipments by value, because pricier, time-sensitive items such as fresh flowers and consumer electronics tend to be sent by air.

Chief executive of air-cargo specialist Air Transport Services Group Inc (ATSG), which flies cargo for DHL Express and Amazon.com Inc, Joe Hete, said: "We expect more profitable growth in 2018 and beyond as airfreight claims a bigger share of overall cargo volume to achieve ever faster e-commerce deliveries."

27 Dec, 2017 - Hutchison BEST terminal in Barcelona reaches new milestone with 1m box moves

HUTCHISON Ports BEST Terminal in Barcelona set a new record for throughput this year, handling one million moves - equal to 1.8 million TEU - on December 15. The record-breaking container was loaded on the 13,800 TEU MSC Bettina operated by MSC.

"The new record highlights BEST's value proposition delivering the highest berth efficiency in the Mediterranean and the fastest delivery processes for trucks and trains," Hutchison Ports BEST CEO Guillermo Belcastro was quoted as saying in a report by Seatrade Maritime News of Cochester, UK.

"We will continue to improve the service we provide to our customers through further investments in equipment and technology," he added.

Hutchison Ports BEST is the first semi-automated terminal in the Hutchison Ports Group and the most technologically advanced port development project in Spain.

The port of Barcelona's container volume surged 33 per cent in the first 11 months of the year.

19 Dec, 2017 - Wilmington port wins permission to complete refrigeration process on dock

NORTH Carolina's port of Wilmington has become the first southeastern port in the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot programme to be granted permission to accept perishable goods that are midway through the two-week refrigeration process and then complete the refrigeration process in the terminal.

Other southeastern ports that participate in the USDA's programme are only allowed to accept goods that have completed the two-week refrigeration process.

Wilmington's reefer imports volumes increased by 18.6 per cent to 495 TEU in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to the same period last year, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com.

Wilmington joined on December 1 the USDA's In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot programme, which was started in 2013 and allows cargo to enter the participating ports after undergoing a two-week cold treatment process to safeguard against shipments bringing in fruit flies and other pests.

"We have been working hard to get this programme approved," North Carolina Ports executive director Paul Cozza was quoted as saying in a report by IHS Media. "Demand from our customer base is very strong and they wanted to see this capability for Wilmington move forward."

Wilmington has been struggling to recover cargo volumes lost in the collapse of Hanjin Shipping just over a year ago. The port handled 122,619 TEU in the first nine months of this year, representing a decrease of 28.8 per cent year on year.

Commenting on Wilmington's ability for partly refrigerated goods to complete the refrigeration process at the port, North Carolina Ports vice president Hans Bean said it "opens up a totally new dimension for our port and an option for importers to complete treatment after discharge, which is unique in the south and mid-Atlantic and only available at the port of Wilmington at this time".

The port expects the designation to significantly increase the number of direct imports of produce from across the Americas, including blueberries, grapes, apples, pears and citrus.

Port officials said Wilmington has ample refrigerated container capacity, with 300 plugs on terminal and the capability to add more. In addition to Wilmington's reefer capacity, the port is also home to a 101,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse located on terminal - one of only a few in-port cold storage facilities in the US.

11 Dec, 2017 - Russian rail operator boosts rivalry on Asia-Russia rail routes

THE Russian government has approved the establishment of a new rail cargo company that will be a direct competitor to Transcontainer, Russia's No 1 intermodal operator.

The new operator is expected to lower container rail rates in Russia 10 to 15 per cent, according to transport analysts.

Rail rates between Russia and China are currently priced between US$5,500 and $8,000 per container.

Transcontainer has dominated the Russian rail cargo market for the past several years. In the first nine months of the year, the company's container cargo traffic rose 17.7 per cent year on year to 1.31 million TEU, reported IHS Media.

Russian railway company RZD owns a controlling stake in Transcontainer. RZD operates 45 container terminals in Russia and 19 in Kazakhstan and has 67,000 containers under its management.

As a result, Transcontainer has been able to operate on most of RZD's rail routes linking China and Russia and has typically been the sole option for rail cargo delivery from the Asia Pacific to Russia.

The new operator will be able to compete with Transcontainer on most Asia-Russia rail routes.

Furthermore, Transcontainer will be sold to private investors no later than April, and the new logistics operator will be established by RZD from the private-sale funds and will function as a separate company.

An RZD spokesman said the company has enough skilled personnel to organise a new, full-scale logistics business, which will include both operator's services and forwarding.

The proposal has received the support of the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service.

07 Dec, 2017 - Japan's trade surplus up 21pc in October, exports up 2pc

A WEAKER yen and healthy growth in China has helped push up Japan's export volumes, resulting in Japan's trade surplus increasing by a seasonally adjusted 21 per cent in October compared with the previous month.

October marked the 24th straight month of trade surplus and demonstrates how external demand has strengthened the economy after several rounds of monetary stimulus by the Bank of Japan weakened the yen, reported London's Financial Times.

Solid exports and robust demand from China suggest net trade will continue to support the economy in the fourth quarter and bolster the outlook for growth.

The figures indicate "its a clear recovery in exports to Asia", Barclays economists Yuichiro Nagai and Yukito Funakubo said in a note, with exports to China "continuing to show strong growth".

In October exports increased two per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous month, while imports were up 1.2 per cent. Compared with 2016, exports were up 14 per cent in value terms in yen, while imports rose 19 per cent, reflecting depreciation of the yen.

In volume terms, exports grew by 3.8 per cent compared to October 2016, while imports were up 3.2 per cent.

By destination, exports to China were up 26 per cent on a year ago, with Japan supplying much of the capital equipment to tool its manufacturing sector.

Exports of semiconductor equipment to China were up 123 per cent year on year to JPY67.6 billion (US$603 million); overall machinery exports increased 45 per cent; and vehicle exports were up 26 per cent.

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